When a pastor or church member looks at their church’s calendar when it is full of events, the response is usually one of satisfaction.

However, there are good reasons to exchange that perspective for one of concern.

The reason we like to see a full schedule is because we think it declares fruitfulness is taking place. And perhaps that is true. But most likely the idea of fruitfulness through busyness is only partially true.

I have been a pastor for almost 35 years, and I have discovered that when pressed to identify the fruit in our programs, sometimes the results are surprisingly slim. This has nothing to do with the sincere intentions and faithful hard work of those involved in them.

There have been times when a program that many would consider to be a showcase of good work was in fact producing virtually no identifiable fruit.

The answer is not to trash all programs, but we should carefully examine their usefulness.

The knee jerk reaction by people tends to be that attempts to significantly reduce programs is a step backward from fruitful ministry.

But the opposite truth is the motivation for trimming the programming in our churches. It is because we do want to be fruitful, that we don’t want to fool ourselves into thinking we are being effective because we are being busy. The importance of gospel ministry is too precious to merely think we are being effective.

The ministry goal that Jesus has given us is to be making disciples. This involves having people come to faith in Christ and having them mature so that they become part of the disciple-making process.

This requires a certain amount of programming in and by the church, but it also requires freedom to be involved in disciple-making in our homes and communities.

When we free up the church calendar AND empower church members to be disciple-makers, fruitful ministry expands.

The topic of church schedule and programming is not a minor concern, the health of gospel ministry is partially at stake.

Jared Wilson serves the church well with this article, “10 Reasons Why You Should Underprogram Your Church”. A careful reading of Jared’s points reveals the value of giving this matter serious consideration.

It can be hard for a church to strike a perfect balance, but we can become more careful and intentional about busyness in the church just as much as we should be concerning busyness in our personal lives.



Follow Me - for Kyle


Our Mission Conference is moving to a new time of year.

Due to snow and ice occasionally interfering with Mission Conference events, it will now be held in November.

Out conference theme this year is “Follow Me” and will take place November 19th-22nd.

The purpose of our Mission Conference is to educate and challenge our hearts in regard to being Great Commission people.

Everyone is welcome, but we especially ask that those who are part of Greentree Church would attend at least one event beyond you normal attendance routine.

Please be praying that God will use this time richly in the life of our church.


Thursday, Nov 19th

Women’s Bible Study   9:30 – 11:00 am

Featuring a Skype call with our mission partner in Central Asia

Friday, Nov 20th

Youth Night   6:30 – 10:00 pm

Dinner provided

 Movie Night    7:00 – 9:30 pm

An episode of Dispatches from the Front:

“Father Give Me Bread” Advancing the Gospel in Ethiopia & Sudan

Saturday, Nov 21st

 Seminar & Breakfast   8:30 – 11:00 am

Reaching the Unreached at Home:

Making everyday Gospel Connections

Featuring special guest Peter Eck, Assistant Pastor of New City Fellowship of Atlantic City. Continental Breakfast provided

Sunday, Nov 22nd

Pastor Pat Tedeschi Preaching  8:30 & 10:30 am

 International Potluck & Prayer   6:00 – 8:00 pm

Come enjoy a meal together & pray for our missionaries and outreach around the world. Bring a dish to share – make it international if you like!



On Sunday, we are celebrating Children’s Ministry Sunday.

As a pastor, church member, dad and grandparent, I am deeply grateful for every person who serves our church through Children’s Ministry.

I am thankful for the way you love these children, even on days when they are not as lovable.

I am thankful that you demonstrate your devotion to God, even on days when your body is weary and your heart is burdened.

I am thankful for how you share your commitment to God’s Word, even though at times you struggle under it.

I am thankful that you have taken on this role, even though you may feel intimidated and unworthy.

Above all, I am thankful that you bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children who will be changed forever by it!

If you serve in Children’s Ministry may your heart be filled with Joy and Grace as you show up to love these children and young people again this week.

If your children or grandchildren participate in children’s ministry – would you make an effort to thank the teachers who are impacting those you love!

Whether or not you have children in a church classroom, would you ask God to strength these faithful workers and make them fruitful?




Why is it essential to think of ministry in terms of relationships?

God and theology are relational

God by nature is relational: one God who exists in three persons

The word of God is relational

God’s means of saving us is relational:  God eternally took on our nature and gave himself for us

Worship is meant to be relational

We cannot follow God unless we have a relational focus

The Great Commandments are relational

The Great Commission is relational

The fruit of the spirit are revealed relationally

The nature of the church is relational; we are the family of God and the body of Christ

How can we love or how can we show grace if we do not live out “God in us” relationally?

However relationships always bring problems

“Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox” Proverbs 14:4

Everyone you have a relationship with is a sinner

It’s impossible to have problem free relationships, but it is possible to have correct perspectives and responses

We don’t have marriage problems or relational problems, we have sin problems

Remember our people and problems don’t make us sin, they can only squeeze out what was already inside us

Even with all the mess God keeps pushing us together

He instituted the Family and the church

His word keeps pushing us into closer involvements, by telling us to love our neighbor and live in fellowship with each other

It is indefensible for a believer to isolate themselves from relationships

Ministry requires large doses of grace – patience – love – forgiveness – persistence etc

If we are to carry out a biblical perspective in relationships

Burying relational problems and ignoring them is not a biblical option

Walking away from relational problems is not a biblical option

However, God does not ask you to be run over by people; we need to establish boundaries or we are enabling their sin

In many ways life is simpler when we have a self-focus. We only have to worry about me!

But life is much fuller and fruitful when it is relational

When these relationships are God-centered, we are carrying out the most meaningful labors on earth

Ministry involves bringing more oxen into our barn

Make relationship building a way of life

Be helpful and friendly, this draws people to us

Be interested in people’s lives; people like those who listen to them over those who talk at them

Be a servant, so people realize your agenda is not just about yourself

Each morning pray about the interactions you know are ahead of you that day

Look for those who are hurting and on the outside

Our world is filled with ministry potential

If you do not see them, ask God (who does) to open your eyes

When conflicts happen, respond with God’s agenda rather than your own

We typically see conflicts in relationships as an obstacle or as a sign to leave!

God’s wants us to see these moments as opportunities for growth and ministry

Rather than focus on establishing our position, ask God how we can serve his purpose

We are not all people persons, but what we do can be about people


God has changed us, with the purpose of making us his instrument of change in others

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: “We implore you on Christ’s behalf – be reconciled to God”’.  2 Corinthians 5:17-20

We are a “New Creation”

God has changed us significantly, eternally and wonderfully

When we received a new nature, the change was not subtle or just along the fringes of our life. The Bible says, “all things have become new”

We have a new relationship with God

To be “in Christ” means we are connected to what He has accomplished: his death, life and perfect obedience

Our identity is now forever ‘in Christ’; everything we receive from God is connected and secure in Him

We have a new understanding

If we look at ourselves without seeing supernatural differences – we have a false perspective

How we value what we are and do, is literally turned upside down

This change is not all finalized, but it is complete

Although we are not yet perfected, in the plan and sovereignty of God it is finished

“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”  Ephesians 2:6

Serving God is a matter of living out what he has already done

Examples of this are in Ephesians 6:11 “take up the whole armor of God” and Romans 13:14 “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. In these examples we are not carrying out a new work, we are joining in the work Christ has accomplished for us

God provides all we need to be fruitful

We have the Holy Spirit, who is the fullness of God, residing in us.  It is impossible to have greater help!

We have the Word of God which has an extraordinary power to work change (Hebrews 4:12)

We have the Church, a community operating by supernatural principles of support and encouragement (Ephesians 4:16)

What is the result of all this?

We are always blessed abundantly

We are always thoroughly loved

We are always in midst of God’s gracious purpose

But if we stop with God working in us, we have stopped halfway

The process of spiritual blessing and growth are not merely about ourselves

Our salvation places us in a ministry role

The “word of reconciliation” and “the ministry of reconciliation” are ours instantaneously (we see an wonderful example of this in John 4:39-42)

God immediately turns us into His representative or “ambassador”

Being called an “ambassador for Christ” presents a specific word picture

We represent someone else in what we do; God’s agenda is now our agenda

We can declare the gospel of Christ with the authority of Christ. Look again at v20; it is “as though God were pleading thru us”

This indicates the depth of God’s commitment in using us

And it tells us that if we are to represent God, we should have a whole-hearted participation as his Ambassador

What high honor we have to represent Christ in his work of making broken lives whole

Although ministry has labor to it, it brings joy and vitality into our life

God has given us the most significant and satisfying labors possible

So what are we doing?




Question: What would be the most important use of your life today?

Answer: Be part of what God is doing in people’s lives

God is active and his works are not only wonderful – they are eternal

Nothing compares to what God is doing

Nothing even comes close

Christians want to see their lives to count for God, but (too) many are vague on what that means for them.

Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe help us with their book, “Life on Mission: Joining the Everyday Mission of God”.

“Life on Mission” is filled with clarifying thoughts on what it means for any of us to see everyday life fulfill God’s glorious mission for us.

This is too important to leave as an “I’ll get to it later” priority.

“Our missionary God is not waiting for you or me—He is already at work. And the exciting news is that He invites us to join in His mission of reconciliation.”

Living on mission is not only important, it is immensely satisfying – much more than anything we are doing in its place!

This is something every Christian can do, because it is God’s desire for us, AND He is the one who enables us literally every step of the way.

Take a step toward living on mission, by reading Life on Mission”.


We can live for many things that bring enjoyment. But nothing can equal the joy of living for the agenda of Christ. He has great things he wants to do in us, and glorious things he wants to accomplish through us. Don’t sit on the edges watching with your toes in the water – do something today that dives into the wondrous works of Christ!


Last week I spent a lot of time in airports. I passed thousands of people with specific plans in mind. They were all coming from somewhere and headed somewhere else. Each of them has a life filled with desires and burdens.

Yet to me they were anonymous people. I might notice one for a few moments, as they caught my eye or as I snatched bits of their conversations.  If their physical presence intruded on mine, for those brief moments, they had my attention. But I did not think about any of them for long, and now they are forgotten. I have to force myself to remember a face, and I remain oblivious of their life’s condition.

Here and there I formed an opinion about someone; the way they intruded in line, the words they used to a store clerk, or how they handled their crying child. Now, even those opinions have disappeared.  To be blunt, I passed by those thousands of people almost as casually as I would a forest of trees along the highway.

Yet God was and is thinking about each of them in a very personal way. In fact, there has never been a moment in God’s forever existence – in which He has not had them on his heart. That astonishes me!

God loves them. He has a message for them. He has declared saving truth for them. A sacrifice was made for them. Right now Christ’s call echoes for them, if they would have ears to hear it . . .  if they would have a person to share it.

Airports remind me that I don’t think about people the way God does. I say I want many to be saved, but I did not think about salvation in a personal way for those thousands of individuals. My world does not reach far beyond – me.

Airports remind me that I simply do not have God’s capacity to have knowledge and concern for just the slice of humanity that passes by me, let alone the billions I will never see. Even more humbling is that for the handful of people I do know from the inside, I am helpless to help them with their most important needs.

Airports remind me God deserves my praise.  Why did He come to me and save me?!  What causes Him to be so faithful and attentive to me?!

Airports remind me that God is our only hope. What other hope is there for the immense ocean of human burden?  Only God is capable of knowing every heart and of meeting every need.

Airports remind me that if I want to be used by God, I must always pursue Him and His will for me. Unless Holy Spirit uses me, my life will have as much lasting impact as the footprints I leave along the beach.

Next time you are in a crowded place, whether it is an airport, or the mall, or even your own church; consider God’s concern for each of those anonymous people passing before us. People who are far from anonymous to him.

Originally posted 12.11


God expects to use our lives to touch other people

  “(God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry”      Ephesians 4:11-12

He did not save us so we would be spiritual misers, He saved us to know Him and to be involved in the wonderful works that He is doing in the hearts of people around us – and around the world.  He describes us as “His instruments . . vessels . . servants . . Ambassadors”. 

Think flow

God works in us to work through us.  He wants us to be flowing and refreshing fountains rather than still and stagnant ponds.

When should this start? 

If you are in Christ, it already has!  Being in ministry starts immediately.  As soon as God works in us, He can start coming through us. 

My favorite example of this is in John chapter 4.  Jesus is engaged in conversation with a woman who is spiritually dead, theologically ignorant and morally bankrupt.  But after meeting Jesus, she went to the people in her town and told them about Jesus.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”   John 4:39-42

This unnamed woman did not have time to learn theology or undo all her past mistakes, yet she was immediately and powerfully used, just by representing Jesus and pointing people to Him.  It is a simple plan that still works today. 

But the main point I want us to dwell on is the immediacy of God’s desire to use this woman. At the moment we believe, we know the basics of what the world needs to know – Jesus knows me, Jesus cares for me, Jesus saved me.

Everyone we meet needs Jesus

We can be sure that everyone we meet has an incurable sin problem.  We can be confident that whatever are the problems which plague them, Jesus is the permanent answer.

And if the people around us have already trusted in this truth, we can be sure that they struggle to live it out – just like we do.  We need to know that even the ‘strongest’ Christian needs to be daily refocused and refreshed in the truths of Christ and His gospel.

All this means that everywhere we go, we are in a place where God wants ministry to happen.

Ephesians 4:11-12 does not allow us to isolate being “in ministry” to those with leadership titles or paid positions.  Those  God “gives” to be pastors, do have a leadership role, but that role is again to “equip” the church into being people of ministry.

Think of the bottleneck in ministry, if only pastors and deacons do ministry.  What a constraining limitation on how many people could receive that ministry!

Being in ministry is a lifestyle of what we do with our day.  Being in ministry is an attitude we have toward the people in our life.

 Originally posted 6.16.2011


My friend Ian McConnell who pastors Grace Church in Philadelphia, has written another excellent article on his Blue Collar Gospel blog.

This article entitled “Life is Mission”, hits right at the center of what we have been trying to make our perspective at Greentree, which is to live life according to God’s agenda. Or as was the theme of this year’s Mission Conference, “Live Life Sent”.

How full and meaningful life becomes when our routine tasks and existing relationships become opportunities for the gospel to live in and through us. Our life may remain ordinary and yet become extraordinary all at the same time! As Ian writes:

“When you view yourself as sent, the mission field expands and the significance of your ordinary black & white moments start to pop-out in missional color.  Loving God, loving others, and the maturing & multiplying of disciples increasingly becomes your ultimate agenda as you do your regular thing. This both simplifies and intensifies our view of mission.”

Ian ends this article with practical ways to alter the way we look at our daily routine. This alone can encourage you to live a God pleasing and eternity affecting life.